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Library General Pencils or Pens?
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Pencils or Pens?
There's a Curb your Enthusiasm episode where Wandering Bear, Larry's landscaper, asks Larry for a pencil to jot something down. Larry only has a pen. The next 2 minutes are spent with Larry being Larry and not immediately handing over his pen.

Larry: "But you did say pencil."
Wandering Bear: "They both write."
"yes, but one can erase."
<Blank stare>

I write with pens. I think I prefer pencils. But pens are just more convenient. I find them everywhere and don't have to worry about sharpening. And who needs to erase really? Crossing out is just as quick.


I find that I need to write poetry and prose on paper. But for stories and longer pieces and essays I need a computer screen to really get a sense of how everything fits together. How do you compare to the technology you write on? Maybe for the more personal stuff I need my handwriting to remind myself where the words are coming from. And it's also fun to go back and read and see how my handwriting measures up next to what is on the paper. I can tell when I'm writing frantically, when I have some wine in me, and when I'm giving thoughtful attention to every letter. That degree of personality is impossible to pick up on in the formal fonts we use on our computers.

I often wish there was a way to publish poetry in the handwriting of the poet. I'm sure the technology already exists, I wonder if anyone has thought to do that.


What do my fellow writers employ to cement their thoughts? Pen, Pencil, Keyboard? And why?
I can't believe this one went so long unanswered.

First as to viewing manuscripts in poets handwriting. There is in fact quite a bit of work published with reproduction of holographic manuscripts. Though with poets, esecially, it is hard to tell what the actual manuscript is. For instance, you can find on line reproductions of the Walt Whitmans first edition of Leaves of Grass, and for all intents and purposes this is a manuscript, for several reasons. First, Whitman's handwriting is worse than my own, if the reproduction of his original MS is any example, but, Whitman, like Sam Clemens was a printer's devil, and edited his poetry from galley proofs and by hand on the table. Whole sections of his poetry was set by himself. If you wish, it is possible to find quite a bit of manuscript reproduced on line, and there are very pricy special editions. I reccomend you find the William Blake Songs of Innocence [ http://www.blakearchive.org/exist/blake/archive/work.xq?workid=songsie ]

I write in pen myself or straight into the keyboard. And there is no such thing as a final version of anything I write. When I write a poem in pen I have to always make a faircopy, because the original is so marked up by my editing. And I am glad I write in pen because I can usualy find the original if I don't like the revision. I find in making a fair copy, I edit without mercy so the faircopy is now the manuscript version, and then when I transcribe the poem into the computer, it can sometimes be a whole third version.  And on printing it out, I find that I mark up that printed version so much, that I need to create still a fourth version in inserting the edits I have made on the printout. So I don't know what version of akl that you would call the manuscript. And I have sometimes made a faircopy of the printout if I wish to give the poem to someone.
Yes, where did this original post get lost that it took so long to be re-discovered?

In formal writing of any kind I use my computer.  To edit, however, I print it out and make changes and corrections in pen (black, fine point).
It works for me.

I love second and third hand books with notes in the margins.  It's another kind of conversation.

In response to Linda OReilly
"It's another kind of conversation"
true dat dawg

--sorry, my 21st century, grammatically altered teenaged  thoughts just needed to be released for a moment.
it's such an gratifying feeling when you realize that you might not be the only person who lurks around the book section at thrift stores reading annotations and messages hidden in the margins of books. I especially love messages in books given as gifts. it's nice to think that this particular book was bought for this particular person because someone who cared for them thought they might enjoy it.
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Latest Post: December 15, 2011 at 6:41 PM
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